Conway II

Following up on our post on John “Game of Life” Conway, Paul Alper points us to this informative obituary by Siobhan Roberts:

John Horton Conway was born on Dec. 26, 1937, in Liverpool, England, the third child and only son of Cyril and Agnes (Boyce) Conway. His father, an autodidact, had left school at age 14 and, with his photographic memory, made a living playing cards. Later he was a technician in the chemistry lab at the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys, setting up experiments for students, among them George Harrison and Paul McCartney.

Wow! That’s something. And then on the sadder side, a reminder of the complexity of real life, even for someone who was famous for being brilliant and playful:

His first two marriages, to Eileen Howe and Larissa Queen, ended in divorce. . . . Dr. Conway persevered in finding the fun through triple bypass surgery, a suicide attempt and a number of strokes. . . .

Good to be reminded of life’s complexity.


And there were ever more games of Phutball, which Dr. Conway was not very good at.

This gives a whole new twist to the story in the P.P.S. from our earlier post.